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Rwanda Travel Information

The Basics


Local time is GMT +2.


The electrical current is 230-240 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are the most commonly used.


Kinyarwanda, French, Swahili and English are the official languages. French is widely spoken, but English is limited to a few people in the tourist centres.

Travel Health

There is a year-round risk of malaria throughout Rwanda and travellers are advised to take a course of prophylactics. A yellow fever certificate is required by all visitors over the age of one, and inoculation is also recommended for travellers who will be staying for a long time, or will be heavily exposed to mosquitoes. A hepatitis A vaccination is also recommended, as well as a polio booster for those who have not had one as an adult. Bottled drinking water is available in all towns. Medical facilities are limited and medical supplies may be unavailable, although hospitals are located in all major towns. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised.


Although services charges are usually added to the bill, tipping has become common in the country's cities. A five to 10 percent tip for decent restaurant service is standard, and guides generally receive $10 per day.

Safety Information

Crime levels are relatively low in Rwanda, although tourists should be alert to bag snatching and incidents of petty theft. Travel to the border areas with Burundi and the DRC is not advised. Trips to see the gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park should only be undertaken as part of a guided trek. Rwanda is considered a low threat for terrorism, though there are reports of random grenade attacks and travellers should be vigilant at bus stops and other public areas. The roads in major towns are good, however travel after dark is not advisable; landslides are common during the rainy season (late spring to early autumn).

Local Customs

Photography of government buildings is prohibited in Rwanda. Plastic bags have been banned for environmental reasons and will be confiscated on arrival at the airport. It is considered impolite to ask someone about their ethnic origin.


A handshake is the normal form of greeting. A knowledge of French is useful as English is not widely spoken; interpreters may be required. Culturally, a direct 'no' to a proposal is rare, and negotiations are often lengthy. Lightweight suits are suitable attire for meetings, which need to be arranged in advance.


The international dialling code for Rwanda is +250. Prepaid local SIM cards can be purchased as a cheaper alternative to using international roaming. Free wifi is available at most upscale hotels and an increasing number of cafes, restaurants and budget hotels.

Duty Free

Passengers older than 18 years may bring 250g of tobacco products, one litre of spirits, two litres of wine, and 500ml of perfume into the country without incurring import duties.

Our Travel Expert

Miriam is a travel blogger, tourist guide and the owner of Kagera Safaris Ltd, a company committed to offering travellers to East Africa 'Memorable African Expressions'. She is passionate about community development, photography and travel.

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